Hancock Holding Co. in Gulfport, Miss., said Monday that it began a $200 million public offering that would help it redeem an acquisition target's Treasury Department funds.

The $8.1 billion-asset Hancock said it would use the proceeds from the offering to capitalize itself and to pay off Whitney Holding Corp.'s Troubled Asset Relief Program funds once its deal to purchase the New Orleans company is completed.

Hancock included an option for underwriters to sell 15% more shares if necessary.

Hancock agreed to buy the $11.8 billion-asset Whitney in December for about $1.3 billion.

Under the agreement, Hancock said it would redeem Whitney's $300 million of Tarp funds.

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